Bills to Buffalo Proper

27 Nov

Common Council member Brian Davis has proposed that the Buffalo Bills move to the current location of the Perry projects. The red area represents the scaled footprint of Gillette Stadium over that area. Discuss.

Click to enlarge

[Update: I mistakenly put the footprint on top of the projects behind Sheehan Hospital, not over Perry homes. Thanks WCP for the heads-up. I also switched from the Ralph to the newer Gillette Stadium footprint.]

34 Responses to “Bills to Buffalo Proper”

  1. Denizen at 11:22 pm #

    That’ll save teh city!

    On a serious note, that footprint seems awfully big, even for a football stadium. If shoehorned into a near-downtown location, I’d imagine a lot of the parking would be stacked into ramps.

    Then again, this will never happen. Why am I wasting my breath? 😀

  2. distas at 11:43 pm #

    why so close to the CBD????? And why are we demolishing Chef’s?????!!!!!

  3. wcp at 11:44 pm #

    Umm…Perry Projects are south of the 190. The red blob should be a bit lower.

    Ditto to what Denizen says- will never happen.

  4. Stephen Nazwisko at 12:29 am #

    I like the idea.

    Will it “save teh city”? No one is saying that it will.

    But that location has great access to the 190, good access to the 33 (Via Michigan and the one way Elm), is near enough to downtown to increase the downtown business’ bottom lines by a few percentage points and will help the 150,000 people who see a Bills game each year become more comfortable with the city.

    These big projects have small impacts, a football stadium probably smallest of all, but cumulatively, they can can have a big impact.

  5. Jack at 12:51 am #

    I too would love to see it. It would compliment the HSBC, new Casino, and all the housing development springing up downtown. It’s just a dream though, never happen.

  6. mike hudson at 1:48 am #

    ditto denizen & wcp, never gonna happen. it not happening, however, may provide the perfect excuse to move the crumbling franchise to toronto. in cleveland, both the browns and the indians used the threat of moving as a hammer to get new stadiums built for them. still, it will be fun when donn esmonde & co. come out against it.

  7. Josh at 7:28 am #

    As much as I hate surface parking downtown, it is absolutely necessary for any Bills stadium. The tailgating scene here is special and it would be a huge mistake to kill that off.

  8. Eric P. at 9:04 am #

    Move it aboiut 65 miles north. Go Bills!. Really, Go.

  9. Chet Morton at 9:57 am #

    Who is going to pay for the stadium? The County can’t. The City can’t – and won’t – notice how they have dumped a number of financial obligations onto the County like the cellblock, city parks, and funding for culturals and Zoo. The State is going to fund this? I doubt it. But, Councilmember Davis got what he wanted – press and media attention.

  10. steve at 9:58 am #

    Some factoids to chew on, courtesy of wikpedia and a few other intertube sources…
    — 18 current NFL venues were opened since 1990 (9 in the 1990s, 9 in the 2000s so far)
    — The Ralph opened in 1973. Using that date, it is the 8th oldest venue currently in use in the NFL. If you take into account the major renovations in the 1980s, and I think we should, that makes it the 12th or 13th oldest.
    — Of the 9 stadiums opened since 2000, the construction price tags ranged from a low of $281 million in Pittsburg (2001) to a high of $512 million in Philadelphia (2003), with the average for the group around $350 million. It was not clear if those price tags were just construction, or if they included such things as land acquisition, demo of old stadiums, and so on.
    — The largest seating capacity of the 9 newest stadiums is Invesco Field in Denver with 76,125; the smallest is in Glendale, Arizona with 63,400. The average is about 66,000.
    — Most of the newest stadiums were funded with a mix of public funds, special taxes assessments and/or sale of naming rights. Of note, Paul Allen paid 30 percent of the $360 million price of Qwest Stadium in Seattle, and the Cardinals ownership contributed $143 million towards the $455 million price tag for the Glendale facility.

    While completely unscientific, it would appear from available photos that all the newer stadiums have significant surface parking immediately adjacent to the building.

    What’s all this mean for Mr. Davis’ interests? Darned if I know, but it would stand to reason that we would need some sort of signal from the team and the league that a new stadium would keep the team here for the long-term.

    Sure seems like a lot of time and money to invest in a venue that might get used a dozen times a year or so.

  11. BobbyCat at 10:19 am #

    Ok, let’s assume for sake of conversation (and as those darned kids say – for shits and giggles) that the funding was available for a new stadium (or that Jesus was found livng in Kaisertown with Mary Magdalen, for that matter) how could a football stadium with seven or so home games, help this city?

    Instead of infusing the city with 70,000 people a few Sundays per year, wouldn’t it be better to open, let’s say – 10 factories each employing , oh…100 workers? Let’s see…100 workers x 10=1000 workers x 335 yearly workdays =335,000 worker-days .

    Football is fine but putting Buffalonians to work is much better for Buffalo.

    And before I forget, Is there something wrong with The Ralph? (I missed school that day)

  12. STEEL at 10:22 am #

    Chet, Some Corrections are in order.

    The County does not pay for maintenance of City Parks. The parks are maintained by the county with city funds. BY the way I am not sure that you can describe what the county does as maintenance.

    Funding of Culturals and Zoo. Why shouldn’t the county pick up this tab? The whole county benefits by their existence.

    The State Would not fund a NYC stadium. If the state would not fund a stadium in NYC its not funding one in Buffalo. Interestingly you could pretty much buy an NFL team now for what the cost of stadium is. The smart move would be for the county to buy the team financed with bonds backed by TV contracts. Then you can have them play in any old crappy stadium you want because they will never leave. Problem with this is that the NFL knowing this has outlawed it. Now municipality can be an ownner. or so they say. I wonder what a court would say.

  13. hank at 10:27 am #

    And of course, the Ralph (which he didn’t pay a dime for), seat EIGHTY THOUSAND for football, which makes it one of the larger parks in the league. But it doesn’t have the revenue generating skyboxes, etc that most of the pro sports venues have–and the SKYDOME IN TORONTO DOES HAVE!

    I’ve been a Bills fan since I was old enough to understand football, which is about 1963 (1st Grade). I don’t want to see the franchise go to Toronto.
    Ralph and the “Expand into Canada hungry” NFL have already kicked the damn door open next season. Once Ralph “Kicks Off”, I see the franchise heading over the boarder whether we like it or not.
    Downtown stadiums have been in Pittsburgh and other NFL towns forever. Buffalo can’t even decide on where to put a SPORTING GOODS STORE–Much less a sports STADIUM. Won’t happen in the lifetime of Alan’s GRANDCHILDREN, much less his own kid’s lives….And why bother when the Canooks have already trumped us with the Skydome?
    If the Bills do leave, and I sincerely hope they won’t, it will be the last of WNY circling the bowl.

  14. MIke at 10:33 am #

    Great idea, but can’t we figure out how to keep most of the perry projects? Since the new statium is only going to be used 8 times a year, maybe we can use those trailers they don’t want down south so people can just live in the empty lots. And then bills fans can have a ready supply of crack for game day, win win I think its called.

  15. hank at 10:33 am #

    Steel–Who owns the Green Bay Packers?

    From Wikipedia
    The Packers are now the only publicly owned company with a board of directors in American professional sports
    Typically, a team is owned by one person, partnership, or corporate entity; thus, a “team owner.” It has been speculated that this is one of the reasons the Green Bay Packers have never been moved from the city of Green Bay, a city of only 102,313 people as of the 2000 census.

    If you live in Chicago–how the hell do you not know this?

    They may have been grandfathered in for various reasons

  16. Dan at 10:33 am #

    I know I’ll be flamed for this, but I don’t think downtown Buffalo is a good place for a stadium. Football stadiums take up too much land, not to mention the parking associated with it. Also consider that it’s used only about 15 times a year at most. What would you rather see occupying a half square mile; a new residential neighborhood, or a big stadium that is seldom used, relatively speaking, with lots of surface parking?

    The idea feels nice, but Buffalo needs more than warm, fuzzy feelgood ideas to get moving again. The idea will get a lot of people smiling and saying “yeeah, theeyat’s a good idea”, but a stadium will consume a lot of land for the relatively few times it would be used in a year for Bills home games and the occasional marching band competition and monster truck rally.

    Then again, the Perry projects site is a hell of a lot better than a waterfront location. Imagine the potential of the waterfront wasted on a seldom-used facility and acres of parking?

    Anyhow, has there ever been any historical precedent where a city has taken an economic nosedive into oblivion because a sports franchise departed? I can’t think of any, but I can think of many prosperous metropolitan areas that are about the size of Buffalo, and some that are larger, that don’t have NFL teams.

    It would be a blow to the collective psyche of the Buffalo area if the Bills leave. Maybe the departure of the Bills will shed one element of Buffalo’s deeply entrenched blue-collar culture — that civic life revolves around sports. Without the Bills front-and-center, maybe local leaders, and possibly residents, will place a greater emphasis on arts, culture, and other amenities that actually contribute to quality of life and perceptions of community desirability.

    Putting on my flame-retardant suit. I know it’s coming.

  17. steve at 10:48 am #

    Note to self — it’s “Wikipedia” and not wikpedia.

    Note to self — major stadium renovations to the Ralph in the 1980s AND 1990s make it the 12 or 13th oldest venue. (Soldier Field in Chicago is listed as the oldest, opening in 1920 — but it is also one of the newest, having been closed for two years for complete renovation and re-opened in 2003.)

    Note to hank — seating capacity in the Ralph has dropped from more than 80k to just less than 74k, with the addition of the luxury/premium seating that the team so dearly craved. Fewer seats but more revenue. The concern is not the number of luxury seats, its the number of luxury seat buyers in the metro area.

  18. Tatonka at 11:14 am #

    Also, the Packers are owned by individual shareholders, not by the city. In any case, they are an exception to the NFL’s general rule, which requires an individual majority owner.

  19. STEEL at 11:40 am #


    I do know how the Packers are owned. That is why the League instituted the rule I talked about. They did not want a bunch of teams locked into in tiny markets forever.

  20. peter scott at 12:28 pm #

    i think the ralph is fine…but the nfl wants new stadiums…they’ve made that clear…

    if it comes to a point where a new stadium is a necessity to keep the team here, and the funding is agreed to (i know, a lot to talk about there) this seems like a workable location…

    however, any downtown stadium really should incorporate a new convention center in it…should be domed (retractable roof open for bills games)…

  21. mike hudson at 12:58 pm #

    in cleveland, the downtown baseball/football stadiums and gund arena where the cavs play were funded by “sin” taxes on beer and cigarettes. now the people who paid for it can’t smoke there and the beer’s seven bucks a cup just like it is everywhere else. but the people of the city of cleveland had a referendum on it — you know, where they go somplace and vote? — and they decided they wanted to live in a major league town.

    from the looks of the comments and from my experience here ovr the past decade, most people here don’t care whether they live in a major league town, and public referendums are pretty much discarded in favor of kowtowing to whining protesters, threatened lawsuits and the machinations of clowns like andrew rudnick.

  22. Buffalo Girl at 1:26 pm #

    Gillette Stadium’s outline looks like underwear.

  23. MIke at 1:32 pm #

    Underwear, I think it looks more like a diaper.

  24. Chet Morton at 1:32 pm #


    The County Comptroller did an audit of the County’s agreement with the City of Buffalo and found that it is costing the County $1 million more annually to operate the city parks and community centers than the city pays the County under the 2004 agreement. Whether the County does a good job or not is another issue. The fact is, it costs the County a lot more than the city payment to manage the city parks. That’s why, despite city griping about the condition of the parks, Byron Brown does not want the city to take back operation of those parks. Also, the city used to annually appropriate grant funds to culturals and the zoo until 2002 when the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority forced the City to stop doing so. In response, the County stepped up and increased its funding of culturals and started a massive capital infusion of cash into the Buffalo Zoo.

  25. STEEL at 2:20 pm #

    OK I will take a stab at this one.

    So, everyone thinks I am anti suburb..and, I am.. I don’t hate suburbanites…I just dislike their choices and the consequences of those choices. As an urban dweller It cost me money to support their suburban life style choice, It costs the environment tremendously, It costs The United States in the world as our foreign policy is geared more and more toward supporting the suburban need for cars, and the suburban environment is GENERALLY built out in a cheap ugly manner (increasing so in the city as well).

    That being said, I completely understand the desire for clean safe neighborhoods and good schools. But, That should not excuse what is now the majority of America’s population from any responsibility for helping eradicate the social problems of our inner cities.

    Moving away from these problems does not mean they go away! These problems are largely due to centuries of racism which our country only started to correct in the 1960’s. These social problems were not created by one group. It is a societal creation. The Elmwood hipster, so often derided on this site, did not create the problem of the East side. Why should the problem of the east side be born solely by a smaller and smaller group of those with means who choose to live in Buffalo? Is the solution to completely abandon the city and let it turn back into forests? Do we just dump an irreplaceable historic heritage into the lake and pretend it never happened?

    When you extract most of the wealth from one municipality you leave behind decay and poverty which results degradation of infrastructure and services which forces out more wealth. Poverty breeds more poverty as socially inept parents raise children to be socially inept. The best school system in WNY would not be able to teach these kids. Many suburban residents look down at the “City” as a horrible place that is morally bankrupt and corrupt and if it would only act more like the suburbs it would not have so many problems. It is just not that simple.

    Take this scenario, what if Amherst absorbed the east side and ran the school system for that part of the city. Would all the problems of that part of the city magically disappear? I think not. More likely the Amherst schools would begin to resemble the Buffalo schools no matter how well they were run.

    Or this one. What if Amherst had vast portions of its land abandoned with rotting buildings left behind and few property owners paying taxes. Would the town be able to continue to provide high quality schools and services? I think not.

    So what to do about Buffalo. Many suburbanites will say fix the schools , plow the streets, fix up and tear down the rotting buildings. With what resources? ? ? The wealth is now in the suburbs. As WNY expands and its population decreases the problems successfully contained within Buffalo are now spreading into the suburbs. Amherst is in deficit spending, all but 2 Erie county municipalities have lost population, Cheektowaga is experiencing dramatic increases in abandonment, and as reported in the News about a year ago WNY has the largest per capita number of elected officials in the country.

    As the population thins and drops WNY will have less and less ability to concentrate resources on providing a high quality of life. When people look at WNY from the outside the city is the symbol of the region. What they see is a ragged poor city. That becomes the area’s image. That image is not progressive and it is not attractive. With out an attractive vibrant core outsiders will not consider WNY as an attractive place and will pass it by when deciding where to invest.

    So sure people can move further and further out and say I’ve got mine. You can say lets not bicker we are all WNY City and suburb alike. But those are just words. As long as you are saying Ive got mine and the city be damed you are pretending that the city is a foreign country that is no concern to you own. The problem of the cities poverty racked neighborhoods are not a problem created by the City. It is not a problem that should be born solely buy the Elmwood Hipsters and few other well of neighborhoods.

    So if you really believe that WNY is one place what are the means to sharing the wealth, opportunities, and problems equally? How do we remove the negatives born by the city? How do we protect or historic heritage and promote new growth at the core?

  26. Pauldub at 2:29 pm #

    Steel – Stay on topic. You don’t like suburbs, I don’t like Chicago style pizza. We’re even.
    On the Stadium. If and when we get a new owner, they will decide on the Ralph or downtown, or out of town. Simple as that.

  27. STEEL at 2:39 pm #


    So what you are saying is that the county required more money to provide less service. I guess that is the problem with Erie County in one sentence for you. If you remember this system was touted as a cost savings. It is a bit outrageous to blame this one on the city.

    As for the city chipping in to culturals. This city did this for years while all the other towns and cities sat on their thumbs. I think the county is the appropriate body to take over this very inportant burden.

  28. STEEL at 2:40 pm #


    My long diatribe was posted in the wrong thread please delete

  29. MIke at 2:47 pm #

    Money wasted on Mr Burns football team could be used to fund the culturals, in 100 years football will be forgotten, but the art work that was sold will still be around. Lets rid ourselves of the counties largest welfare mother, maybe once the bills are gone all the beer drinking idiots will leave too.

  30. dave in Rocha at 2:59 pm #

    – The Browns are located in downtown, right on the lakeshore.
    – The Lions are located downtown, right next to the Tigers.
    – The Bears play downtown, on the lakeshore, right next to a highway.
    – Minnesota, St. Louis, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Baltimore and Pittsburgh are all cities that have their football stadiums in their downtowns (or right near them). And these are just the cities that popped into my head without any research. There’s most likely more I’m not thinking of.

    Yet the Bills play in a suburb next to a community college. It’s stupid.

    Put a stadium in the city.

    It doesn’t have to be in the specific spot mentioned in the paper. It doesn’t have to be right on the lakeshore. It should just be in the city, near downtown, preferable near the Arena.

  31. Spaghettiows at 9:21 pm #

    Ideally, a new stadium would go on the land just south of the Central Terminal. Curtiss Street could be removed, there is plenty of land between William Street Paderewski Drive and Memorial Drive which should accommodate parking and a stadium, and the Central Terminal could be remodeled as a landmark hotel housing visiting teams, media, etc and even serve as a sports museum. The existing railroad infrastructure could be used to bring out of town fans directly to the stadium via a remodeled Central Terminal, which as previously mentioned, would also be a hotel or maybe even some loft style housing.

    Because most of the railroad infrastructure is already in place, low cost trams could commute suburbanites right to the facility by rail, not to mention visitors.

    It would create employment in an area in dire need, and could certainly be “gated” to make out of towners and suburbanites feel safe.

    To me, this is the best scenario, but it would never happen.

  32. hank at 3:19 pm #

    Every time I think of Central Terminal I say to myself, “If I was only wealthy JUST ONCE!”
    Ok, I’m a Pushover for Art Deco buildings.
    If I hit the Powerball, on my top 5 calls to make is to CTRC.
    Hell, I’ve said how much I love the country, BUT I WOULD LIVE IN THE TERMINAL TOWER once converted to Loft Housing.
    I know it’s not going to happen, but sometimes dreams are all you have when your heart has never left the city.

  33. Did not think that was accurate. Take a look at how it COULD look. Not that it would ever happen. 😦

  34. TheRover at 9:44 pm #

    I say wedge the stadium between some of the abandoned grain elevators and use them as high rise luxury box…er, tubes. We could name it “The Cheerio Bowl”

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